Books by Tom Tucker

Released: July 19, 1995

Here's proof that serious inventors need not be adults, and that inventions need not be complex, expensive machines to be patentable, marketable, and sometimes, lucrative. From a rotary steam engine (George Westinghouse, 15) and a safety device for cotton mills (Mattie Knight, 12) to earmuffs (Chester Greenwood, 15) and popsicles (Frank W. Epperson, 11), the products and devices thought up by young people are as exotic or commonplace as anything in the annals of invention. Basing his accounts on interviews as well as published sources, Tucker cuts through the mythology built up around some of these inventorstheir unembroidered stories are amazing enoughas he describes how that first flash of inspiration was nurtured and refined, often engendering other ideas, or even becoming a springboard for a career. Would-be Edisons or Franklins will find episodes from their heroes' youths, right next to the stories of Maurice Scales, 7, (a device that prevents toddlers from slamming doors on their fingers) and Hannah Cannon, 11, inventor of a new card game; a closing chapter includes canny advice about recordkeeping and applying for a patent. With black-and-white photos, diagrams, and drawings, this is enthusiastic, pleasantly specific, well-researched, and inspiring. (Biography. 10-13) Read full book review >